Posted by lori in Untagged
MEARS BEATS THE HEAT AND HUSTLES TO 23RD PLACE FINISH AT CHARLOTTE
CONCORD, N.C. (May 24, 2015) - Every season when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rolls into Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600, Casey Mears and the GEICO Racing team know perseverance will be required in order to complete the longest event of the season. Tapping in at 400 laps, 600 miles, Sunday night's race proved to be challenging for both the driver and crew.
On Thursday, the team arrived at the track with a new racecar, which initially proved challenging. They finished up practice in the 29th position and went on to qualify 34th for Sunday night's race. However, when the team returned to the track with the No. 13 GEICO Military Chevrolet on Saturday, the tune had changed and Mears ended up 19th and 12th on the respective speed charts.
Once the green flag flew under sunny skies, Mears made quick progress and gained a handful of positions. However, the first misfortune of the evening arrived on lap 45 when the engine in the GEICO Military Chevrolet suddenly cut off on Mears. Using quick reflexes while traveling at speeds over 180 mph, Mears switched the car back on and soon realized that his internal air conditioner had ceased operations. With over 350 laps remaining, Mears would go on to finish the race in the Carolina heat with no cooling system.
By lap 100, Mears had moved into the top-25 and was steadily passing his competitors, despite the Germain Racing Chevrolet being "loose early in the run." Just past the halfway mark, the Bakersfield, Calif. native held the 19th position and was competing for the lucky dog award to return to the lead lap. As the long green flag run continued, Mears radioed to his crew on lap 270 that he believed he scraped the wall, which could have been contributing to the "tight on exit" handling condition.
A timely caution on lap 273 allowed the GEICO Military team to make minor fender repairs to alleviate any tire rubs. As the field returned to green flag racing, Mears held onto 25th-place and within 40 laps, the veteran driver gained four positions to begin knocking on a top- 20 finish. Unfortunately, the outside wall struck for the second time on lap 342 as Mears reported he had just "right-sided it again." Despite the minor damage, Mears continued to hold strong in 23rd-place.
With 30 laps remaining, Mears climbed back into the top-20 and was informed that the team was a handful of laps short on fuel, but was going to gamble and see if they could make it to the end without another green flag pit stop. Mears' dashboard fuel light illuminated with seven laps remaining, forcing the driver to pit for right-side tires and fuel. Over the final seven laps, Mears collected positions in bulk and was able to recover and hustle to a 23rd place finish. At a track where passing is a challenge, Mears was one of the big movers of the race.
"The guys put in a good effort throughout the entire 600 miles and I appreciate it," said Mears after the race. "The GEICO Military Chevrolet was much better on the short run compared to the long run, so we have a little work to do in that area. We as a team are making strides and I know we all want to do better. Overall it was a solid improvement from where we started off the truck on Thursday though and we will keep gaining on it."
Next up for Mears and the Germain Racing team is the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, May 31 at 1:00 p.m. ET. FOX Sports 1 will carry the live telecast, while the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius XM Satellite Radio, channel 90 will bring the live radio broadcast.
Please visit www.GEICO.com to learn how you could save money on more than just auto insurance.
To learn more about the GEICO Racing program, please visit: www.caseymearsracing.com
You can also follow GEICO Racing on Twitter: www.twitter.com/geicoracing
To learn more about Germain Racing, please visit www.GermainRacing.com
- PMI -